North Central Educational Service District has been supporting regional school districts by distributing thousands of COVID tests for the past several weeks.
“Washington Department of Health did not have sufficient antigen tests to support the testing supply demand, or a mechanism for prompt supply distribution directly to schools during the Omnicron surge,” explains Cathy Meuret, NCESD Nurse Corps Director.
DOH requested support from the nine ESDs to act as the coordinating agency and distribution hub for all schools in each of their respective regions. NCESD serves 29 school districts in the North Central Washington region, which includes over 49,000 K-12 students.
During the week of January 17, NCESD received 20,000 tests from the state, and another 14,000 tests the following week.
“There are a lot of moving parts with many people to recognize, especially NCESD staff members Melissa Barajas, Francisco Anaya, Michelle Price, Pete Phillips, and Kathryn Metcalf,” Meuret added.
In addition to NCESD staff stepping up, school staff have made the process possible, Meuret said. NCESD has been working with schools to determine testing supply allocations per school based on delivered volumes and school-identified needs. After NCESD staff prepares allocations from shipments, schools pick up the supplies from the distribution location in East Wenatchee. At times, NCESD has delivered supplies to the districts in Okanogan and Grant counties.